UPDATE 7-Power outage cripples San Francisco for seven hours
(Recasts with power restored, comments from residents)
By Alexandria Sage and Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO, April 21 (Reuters) - A massive power outage threw San Francisco into chaos for most of the work day on Friday, knocking out traffic signals, paralyzing businesses and halting the city's famed cable cars.
The power outage, which was triggered by a fire in a PG&E Corp. utility substation, disrupted San Francisco's normally bustling financial district, home to banks and technology companies.
The blackout started just after 9 a.m. (noon ET/1600 GMT) and at one point affected nearly 90,000 customers, according to PG&E. The cause of the fire was a circuit breaker failure at the substation, PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty said.
Office workers unable to access elevators or use their keycards spilled out onto the sidewalks, some wandering the streets in search of an open cafe or sunny spot to enjoy a rare warm San Francisco day.
Others simply went home, with long lines forming for ferries. For many, there was little to do but wait.
"When I got here we had to shut down all the servers, all the work stations were off-line," said Bard Wood, an information technology worker in the financial district. "I'm sure we've lost millions of dollars already. There's no business down here right now."
Some cable car operators snoozed after their cars stalled on the street rails. Continued...